Rachel Lake Trail
Rachel Lake Trail is an 12.9 km hike in the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest that is rated as hard, although we’d consider it to be on the moderate side of hard. This trail takes you to the shores of Rachel Lake, but it also provides access to Rampart Lakes. If you want to venture a bit further, you can continue to Lila Lake.
There are charming waterfall lookouts along the way, but most of the trail is in the woods. Expect heavy traffic, making a midweek visit pleasant. You can also camp on the lake if you’d like to make this a multi-day adventure.
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Route Description for Rachel Lake Trail
Rachel Lake is a super popular destination on summer weekends, owed mostly to the pretty scenery at the lake and the relative ease of access as far as backcountry campsites go. This 12.9 km trek is mostly forested on the way up, the views at the lakes make it well worth the trip. Most of the hike is moderate until the last approach to the lake, which steepens. Note that if you choose to continue on to Lila Lake or Alta Mountain, you’ll need more gas in the tank for steeper ventures. The extension to Rampart Lakes isn’t as demanding.
From the trailhead at the end of the road, take the trail into the forest. You’ll be in the trees for the majority of the trail, but trust that the views will come. The grade is mild to begin with and will gradually become more challenging the closer to the lake you get.
Look for little waterfalls as you go, which are nice distractions from the steepening trail. You’ll hike through sections of old-growth forest and meadows. 4.4 km in, you’ll cross Canyon Creek and start a rocky, rooty portion of the trail.
The last approach to the lake is quite a bit steeper and rockier than the rest of the trail, with big “steps” you’ll need to climb to make up the significant elevation gain still on the table.
Take a moment to rest on the shores when you get there. Rachel Lake is about 5.6 km from the trailhead, but this last portion of the trail might feel like it takes miles itself. At least the views of Box Canyon can motivate you.
If you think you’ve gone off track, check your GPS. There are side trails on this section. Most have sticks across them to indicate their uselessness, but if you’re not paying close attention it’s easy to wander.
Arriving at the lake, find yourself a comfy place to sit down and recoup. Admire Rampart Ridge overhead and the shimmering water of the lake. You can camp, fish, and swim, or just enjoy the view before retracing your steps down to the trailhead.
Hiking Route Highlights
Rachel Lake adorns the eastern side of Rampart Ridge. This 25-acre lake is at an elevation of 1,422 m and is a popular hiking and fishing destination. Hikers also enjoy swimming in Rachel Lake on hot days. Fishers can try to catch cutthroat trout.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I swim at Rachel Lake?
Yes, swimming is permitted in Rachel Lake. It might be chilly!
Can you camp at Rachel Lake?
Yes, there are several campsites around the lakeshore.
Can you fish at Rachel Lake?
Yes. Rachel has cutthroat trout to fish for.
Insider Hints for Rachel Lake Trail
- Remember your Northwest Forest Pass for this hike. If you camp, grab a Wilderness Permit at the trailhead.
- Take care on the drive to the trailhead, which is quite potholed.
- The parking area is small, so try to arrive early on the weekends.
Getting to the Rachel Lake Trail Trailhead
The trailhead for the Rachel Lake Trail is at the end of National Forest Development Road 4930. There is parking here.
Rachel Lake Trail Elevation Graph
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Rachel Lake Trail Reviews
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